I initially tried to go the copart direction, but the fees turned me off. For an $800 car, the fees were about $300. They go up as the price goes up. I do have a neighbor that buys at least 1 car a week there, repairs them, and sells them, so it can be done.
I found my donor through CL. It was a T-boned Riviera- guy was asking $1000, I paid $400
If you can find a running car on CL, you might be able to part out enough from the donor to make up the difference. You get the benefit of seeing how the engine and trans run. I made out on the Riviera.
'87 GT in process, including GA / Seville brakes, Poly Suspension, '95 3800 Series 1 SC ( 225 hp ) 4t60e.